The harem genre has a reputation for being super trashy and ignoring the story in favor of ecchi. Not these entries, though! You’ll find ecchi moments and harem conventions that genre fans love paired up with a good story and character development.
© Nisio Isin / Vofan / Kodansha Ltd. / Shaft, Inc. /
The Monogatari series easily has the best plot in the genre. Koyomi Araragi’s interaction with all of the girls feels fluid and natural, plus there is actual character growth! Coupled with Shaft’s inventive animation techniques and Nisio Isin’s wordplay, and you have a harem series that even genre haters will love.
2High School DxD
© Ichiei Ishibumi / Miyama-Zero / Fujimi Shobo / TNK / High School DxD Production Committee
High School DxD is greater than the sum of its parts. Issei Hyodo comes off as a typical pervert and the girls look like standard ecchi fodder. But, that would be doing the world building a disservice. The series is an interesting take on various mythologies that include angels and demons. While the overall story is simple, the characters go through massive growth as the series progresses.
3Ouran High School Host Club
© Bisco Hatori / Hakusensha, Inc. / Bones Inc.
Ouran High School Host Club is a part parody and part satire on the reverse harem genre. The clever writing and observations of the cast, coupled with some late series twists, makes the series a wild ride. You don’t even have to be a shoujo or reverse harem fan to enjoy it!
© Kenji Satou / Akinari Nao / Fujimi Shobo / Seven Arcs Pictures / Trinity Seven Production Committee
Trinity Seven has a lot of ecchi, and the magic school setting has been done to death. What really sets the series apart is the cast. Arata Kasuga is the rare harem lead that is not dense and all of the female characters have varied personalities. The overall story is a mess, which could turn some people off, but the charming cast makes up for it.
5The World God Only Knows
© Tamiki Wakaki / Shogakukan Inc. / Manglobe Inc.
Like Ouran High School Host Club, The World God Only Knows is a part parody and part satire series. Keima Katsuragi is a master at dating simulation games but is hopeless when talking to real girls. While it may seem like a series that centers around an awkward otaku, The World God Only Knows does take a stab at examining relationships and developing the cast when it’s not parodying popular games.
© Natsuki Takaya / Hakusensha, Inc. / Studio Deen Co., Ltd. / Furuba Production Committee
Fruits Basket is another reverse harem that non-genre fans can enjoy. Instead of being a harem or a satire, it’s a fairly straightforward rom-com. But don’t let that deter you because Fruits Basket is filled with great emotional moments between Tohru Honda and her harem.
7A Certain Magical Index
© Kazuma Kamachi / Kiyotaka Haimura / ASCII Media Works / J.C. Staff Co., Ltd. / Project-Index
Most people wouldn’t consider A Certain Magical Index a harem, but it definitely has the trappings of one! The science-fantasy series is known for having an entertaining story that centers around Touma protecting a nun named Index. There are great fights, comedy, and character moments between Touma and his harem of at least nine different girls. Characters of the series even call him Harem Boy!
If you can look past the ’90s art style (which looked great for its time), then you’ll discover that a lot of action-comedy-harem hybrid series are copies of Tenchi Muyo! The basic story centers around Tenchi Masaki and how a space pirate named Ryouko Hakubi changes his life. There is a lot of adventure and comedy to go with old-school ecchi, plus the cast is really well written.
What are your favorite harem anime with an actual plot that goes with the ecchi?